Dónall Dempsey

Veteran Poet - 1,546 Points (15/07/56 / Curragh Camp, Co. Kildare, Eire.)

A Tale Of Six Cities - Poem by Dónall Dempsey


my past stalks me

behind statues

when I stop
to think
& think

I hear a footprint
disturb the memory

of what it all meant
(& means no longer)

the dawning awakening
the bridges...the parks

dressing them
in sunshine

as if sunshine
were some new fangled thing.

I still following
the forgotten streets

that lead me
(always lead me)

to your kiss.


I walk these streets
Blake would have walked

as the rain listened
to his every thought

before it formed
into the terrors of tigers or angels

that prowled
the confines of his mind

rattling the bars of his human cage

end up at dawn
as the sun

far now from Egypt

touches Cleopatra's Needle

as if remembering
other times

other mind's
that held it

my mind

if my footsteps

hurry into the future

or the past.


Among the canyons
of New York

a snowflake falls
in all its glory

as if a skyscraper
were a mere measure

of how far
a snowflake
will fall

before it sits upon
the tongue

of an unsuspecting

caught in the flurry
of snowflake after snowflake

obscuring his vision
of metal & steel

with their utter


Seeing as it is
in Dutch

(I don't understand
a single word)

but the slap is real
(and hurts)

visible as a brand
that marks her skin
with his hand

persperation & spit
as her head jerks back.

We recoil in shock.

We gasp as he
tears her top off

buttons pinging
in the bright lights

leaving her breathless
& topless.

She is still
a still point
in the storm
of his fury.

We applaud
& clap.

This is too
too real!

Never have we seen
Shakespeare like it

unnervingly physical

as if our nerves
are attached to theirs

we flinch
with every violence
physical or emotional

here now

in the night's air
the actors

in their own right

leaving the theater

laughing & loving
in their own life

Othello & Iago
seem the best
of friends

Desdemona is so
alive & lively

I kiss you & whispear:
'Put out the light
& then...put out the light! '

Under a canal bridge

one light winks
to another.


whispered all about us.

'Water! '
it lapped
'Water! '

'I am of Water! '
'I am Water! '

it proclaimed
in a voice of centuries.

A mist
echoed the water.

A gondala
knocked against
it's mooring

as if eager
to break free.

A city made of mist
as real a city
as that made of bricks & water

unseen birds
turned into sound

the ghost city
taking flight

bells frightening
the air

as Venice
(dreaming all night
about itself)

& put on its clothes

of building & legend

became itself
once again

easy as water
easy as water

... and easy as water

we kissed.


We made love
between screaming sirens

of fire brigade & ambulance

(as if we were either on fire
or dying)

& now a police car
screeching to a halt

just outside
our window

as if they were
going to arrest us
for our indecent behaviou.

'We know you're
in her so...come
out with your hands up
(keep 'em up)
where we can see 'em! '

Our dreams
being taken in
in handcuffs

our lust
being frisked

for hidden weapons

but they just went about
being police doing police
(only in French of course)

& left us
to our selves.

We got back to seeing
what a little tenderness
...could do.

Somewhere an owl

('L'hibou? Non! ')

close yet very far

but we did not

as we were

(My girlfriend was reading A TALE OF TWO CITIES by our honorable Mr. Dickens so I thought it would a far far better thing to do...to write 6 poems about the 6 cities I had experienced.)

Comments about A Tale Of Six Cities by Dónall Dempsey

  • (12/20/2007 2:14:00 PM)

    I love the leaps of imagination and the innovative sweep and scope of the title that binds them altogether. I like now one now another...and it changes as I glide through your words and inhabit first one and then an other city of the imagination as seen through your eyes. I like the 6 minute deadline and the acceptance of whatever will be will be...I tried it and it frees up the mind to settle on and explore whatever aspect it chooses to dwell up. It seems to say write now and just do it whereas I thought it would be constricting and I would never come up with anything. It's a go for broke situation and I like the openess it has to offer. Cool poem or is it poems?

    love Dee Dee(that's Wright...right!)

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Poem Submitted: Sunday, November 11, 2007

Poem Edited: Sunday, April 24, 2011

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